Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Taylor's 2nd Birthday - Part 2: Friends & Family

I blogged about the party details in my last post, so here are some pictures of Taylor's guests.

Taylor and her Grandmother (my mom):

Taylor and her Paw-Paw (hubby's dad):

Taylor and her Godmother Tina:

Taylor with my parents and cousin Josh.  He's such a cutie!

Taylor with her cousin Alivia and Kala:

Some of our friends who helped us celebrate!

Thanks to my awesome sister for her gorgeous photos!

One last shot of the birthday girl blowing out her candles! 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Taylor's 2nd Birthday - Part 1: Finding Nemo

* Warning: This post is photo heavy.  Please give images time to load. *

June has gone by so quickly and this is only my second post of the month.  It's been a busy month and I've neglected my blog for a few weeks.  Let's try finishing June up by recapping Taylor's 2nd birthday!

When I was trying to decide where to have Taylor's birthday, two things came into consideration:

1)  Budget - I was working on a very tight budget and didn't want to blow it on the venue.  Besides, you don't have to spend a fortune to have a memorable and fun birthday!

2)  Location - My house was not an option since my dad and hubby were doing a small remodeling job.  My unfinished laundry room was being revamped into a new office/craft room.  Dust was everywhere and the playroom was now a storage room.  I needed a place where the kids could run free and wild!  A bunch of kids in small spaces STRESS me out.  That's why I hate Chuck 'E Cheese so much!

Since the theme was "Finding Nemo" (see the invitation here), I originally had planned the party at the local pool.  After doing the math, it just didn't seem budget friendly.  So we decided to have it at the park where Taylor and the hubby go to a lot.  It has 2 fantastic playgrounds with the ground made of foam!  There was a pavillion with tables.  And the best part, it was free!

Here's a pic of the larger playground.

It was hot and windy that day!  The Happy Birthday banner I made kept getting blown away, so we opted  to hang it low on the benches.  I made these out of scrapbook paper and blue/orange ribbons.  So easy!

Even though it was a Finding Nemo theme, I didn't want to over due it by buying everything Nemo at the party store.  So I tried to make the focus on the colors with splashes of Nemo in between.  My talented sister designed the stickers for the goodie bags. 

I found adorable miniture toys of Nemo characters on Ebay and used them to decorate the table. I loved how the bags turned out! 

I also kept the contents of the goodie bag simple. Goodies included: sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and candy! My best buy: a tub of 60 sidewalk chalk for $4.99 at Jo-Ann Fabric. After using my 40% coupon, it costs $2.99. I divided the chalk out into little baggies for each child. 

During Easter, I found small blue buckets in Target's Dollar Bin.  I knew they would come in handy!  

And because it was so windy, they also became napkin holders!

I also tried to keep the menu simple, yet kid friendly.  For the adults, a choice of shredded pork BBQ sandwiches or roast beef sandwiches.  For the kids, chicken nuggets or PBJ sandwiches or ham & cheese sandwiches.  I also offered a fruit salad, a pasta salad, a veggie platter, rice krispie treats and Goldfish crackers or pretzels.

My fish cookie cutter came in handy!  I used it on the ham & cheese sandwiches ...

and on the orange and blue sprinkled rice krispie treats!

I got this 3 tiered serving tray a long time ago, but it gets used at every one of my parties!

I wanted to give some height to Taylor's cake so I used an old wooden box, wrapped it with blue birthday paper and voila, an easy and inexpensive platform.  Before the cake came out, I used it as a serving area for the crackers.

And here's the cake's turn on the platform.

Blue bowls I found at Party City and Target for the fruit salad and pasta salad.  Yummy!

Taylor had so much fun running around and being with her friends!  I'll leave you with a pic of the birthday girl enjoying a birthday cupcake!

Happy Birthday Taylor!  Mommy loves you so much!

Next posts will include photos of our guests!

* I'm linking this to the following linky parties:
Fine Craft Guild                        

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Aunt Lan's Famous Mini-Cheesecake

My Aunt Lan will be turning the BIG 5-0 this month!  She's such a generous and caring woman that I wanted to dedicate this post to her today.  Aunt Lan is the Asian Martha Stewart!  She cooks, bakes, sews, throws great parties and is always there when you need her.  For example, when we were planning our big friends and family baby shower, Aunt Lan stepped up and offered to cater the entire thing as a gift!  We had over 50 people at the party and the food was incredible!

Just to give you an idea of Aunt Lan's delicious desserts, here are a few photos.  Feast your eyes on these, but be prepared to salivate!

The cake for Little Muon's Baby Shower.

A close up of the adorable baby on top.

Strawberry Tarts.... yummmmmmm

And last, but certainly not least (and my favorite of them all), Aunt Lan's Famous Mini-Cheesecake.  If there's a party, these babies are on the dessert menu!

In honor of Aunt Lan turning 50, I'm going to share the recipe for her famous mini-cheesecake.  Thanks Aunty for all the love that goes into every dish you create!  Happy 50th Birthday!

Aunt Lan's Mini-Cheesecake

1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp melted butter

2 (8oz) cream cheese, softened ( leave at room temp and they'll soften right up)
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs (5 if small egss)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 can cherry pie filling

1)  In a small bowl, combine melted butter, sugar and graham cracker crumbs.
2)  Press graham cracker mixture into bottom of lined muffin tin.
3)  Preheat oven 350 degrees.
4)  With a mixer, beat cream cheese.
5)  Add sugar, eggs (one at a time) and vanilla.  Do not over beat!
6)  Pour into muffin cups.
7)  Bake for 20 mins.  Let them cool.  Top with cherry pie filling.

Makes about a dozen.
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